This book covers the key concepts central to understanding recent developments in media and communications studies. Wide-ranging in scope and accessible in style it sets out a useful, clear map of the important theories, methods, and debates.

The entries critically explore the limits of a key concept as much as the traditions that define it. They include clear definitions, are introduced within the wider context of the field and each one is fully cross-referenced, is clearly illustrated with relevant examples, and provides a guide to further reading and an index.

This book is an essential resource for students in media and communications and for those studying sociology, cultural sociology, cultural studies, and sociology of media.



The concept of the image became central to European traditions in media studies in the 1960s, as ‘the image’ assumed an ontological status in theories of mass media. In some of these traditions, ‘the image’ is not necessarily visual, but refers to the kind of media power that derives from the circulation of signs, be they aural, visual or written (for the analysis of mediated images as visual signs, see sign).

Thus, the importance of the image in media studies coincides with the rise of publicity, advertising and ‘public relations’. Typically, this involves a ‘brand’, celebrity or political image that takes on a life of its own, a life that is carefully controlled, through marketing and advertising agencies or ...

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